Call to reject 'worst forestry practice' standard

Environment groups have called on the Australian accreditation body, Standards Australia, to reject a push by Australian forestry’s worst practitioners to formalise their operations as “world’s best practice” under an Australian Forestry Standard.

Directors from the Australian Conservation Foundation, Greenpeace, the Wilderness Society and Friends of the Earth said they did not endorse or support the Australian Forestry Standard or the processes used to develop it.

“The development process for this Australian Forestry Standard has been deeply flawed. The steering committee did not include any environmental interests and the reference group was seriously distorted in favour of forest industries, especially those operating in Tasmania,” said Don Henry, Executive Director of ACF.

“The current and previous interim draft standards allow wood production from the clearing of native forest, including old growth and threatened species habitat, for conversion to single species plantations, as well as the poisoning of native wildlife,” said Alec Marr, National Campaign Director of the Wilderness Society.

Cam Walker, National Liaison Officer for Friends of the Earth Australia said: “There has been no environmental group participation in the development of this second interim draft, despite a requirement from Standards Australia that this happen.”

Environmental NGOs withdrew from the development process in 2002 over concerns about the content of the draft standard and a lack of opportunities to meaningfully contribute to its development.

“Standards Australia’s own regulations – in SG-011 and other explanatory materials – clearly require sectoral participation and consensus in the standards setting process. The Australian Forestry Standard doesn’t meet these essential requirements,” said Greenpeace Australia’s Campaign Director, Danny Kennedy.

Environment groups have released an open letter to Standards Australia highlighting these concerns, with the expectation that the proposed Standard will be considered by Standards Australia in November.

For comment and for copies of the open letter to Standards Australia contact:

Alec Marr

National Campaign Director

The Wilderness Society

0417 675 518

  Lindsay Hesketh

Forest Campaign Coordinator

Australian Conservation Foundation

0418 655 551